“If I can make it, anyone can!” These are the words of 27-year-old Herman Katjinaani as he reflects on his journey with the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group that has seen him thrive from a security guard to a building supervisor.
“My desire is to keep on learning and growing myself, and never be held back by my circumstances, nor what other people think or say about me,” he told us with beaming confidence.
Katjinaani’s journey as a guard at property developer Broll Namibia – a subsidiary of the O&L Group – started in December 2011, when he was appointed on a 6-months contract.
Upon completion of his contract, he was offered permanent employment as a security guard, and served in this position until February 2013 when he was promoted to building supervisor for the Carl List Mall and Alexander Forbes House.
“Being a security guard is not easy. I fully understand the challenges that security guards face on a daily basis – apart from the challenging working hours, it can be life-threatening,” he said.
“I have also experienced that security guards are quite often looked down upon – a factor that could leave you in a space of very low self-esteem, and feeling unworthy. I, however, refused to have my future determined by this.”
Katjinaani’s responsibilities were expanded in February 2014 when the Fruit ‘n Veg, Kaiserkrone and the Old Breweries complexes were added to his portfolio. At the end of 2016, Katjinaani was moved to supervise the latest addition to the Broll Namibia portfolio, 77 on Independence.
Katjinaani has always been committed to growing himself even before he joined the O&L Group. During his time as a security guard for G4S, he did part time studies at the Institute for Information Technology (IIT) where he enhanced his IT skills.
“I knew the security industry was just the beginning for me and that more was waiting for me out there.”
Currently, Katjinaani is a second-year part-time business administration student, studying towards his B-Tech degree at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).
But his journey of growth hasn’t always been easy. “Especially we, the semi-skilled guys, have the tendency of speaking against the next one who is on a journey of progress and growth. We do not like seeing others get ahead of us in life, and thus refrain from supporting one another,” he said.
“It was really challenging and quite demotivating at times when my own people didn’t give me the support I needed,” says Katjinaani, adding that he still refuses to be held back by that.
“I was also highly inspired and encouraged by the O&L culture that has the tendency of driving its employees to further self-development, and also creating platforms for that. This has certainly played a significant part in my journey of growth.”
The eldest of his siblings, Katjinaani currently supports his brothers and sisters with school fees and necessities. He also supports his mother financially, and provides for his daughter. For the next five years, he aims for even further growth, and looks forward to climbing the ladder upwards, particularly in the property development sector.
“Hopefully one of these days I might be one of the lucky guys to take charge somewhere as a group manager in the O&L group.”